|Date of birth|
|Place of birth||Marlborough Street, St Peters, South Australia|
|School||West Adelaide Public School, Norwood High School, St Peters College, South Australia|
|Address||St Peters, South Australia|
|Age at embarkation||19|
|Next of kin||Mother, Mrs Mary Wright Coombs, 43 5th Avenue, St Peters, South Australia|
|Previous military service||Served in Cadets and 78th Infantry Citizen Military Forces.|
|Rank on enlistment||Private|
|Unit name||32nd Battalion, 4th Reinforcement|
|AWM Embarkation Roll number||23/49/2|
|Embarkation details||Unit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board RMS Mongolia on
|Rank from Nominal Roll||Private|
|Unit from Nominal Roll||48th Battalion|
|Fate||Killed in Action
|Place of death or wounding||Bullecourt, France|
|Age at death||20.8|
|Age at death from cemetery records||20|
|Place of burial||No known grave|
|Commemoration details||Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France
Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.
The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.
On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.
After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.
|Panel number, Roll of Honour,|
Australian War Memorial
|Miscellaneous information from|
|Parents: Robert and Mary COOMBS, St. Peters, South Australia|
|Family/military connections||Cousins: 1785 Pte Stanley Shepley COOMBS, 43rd Bn, killed in action, 28 May 1918; 2777 Driver James McGregor SHEPLEY, Divisional Ammunition Column, killed in action, 11 October 1917.|
|Other details||War service: France, Belgium. Wounded, Pozieres, 4 August 1916; invalided to Liverpool V.A.D.; recovered and returned to duty. Reported missing, 11 April 1917; officially reported killed in action, February 1918.|